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Shelby

Many residents praise Shelby for pushing to protect refuge with overlay district

Photo by Tom Rivers: Wendi Pencille, leader of the Citizens for Shelby Preservation, thanks the Shelby Town Board for proposing the Wildlife Refuge Protection District, which would restrict mining, junk yards and other uses that town sees as a threat to the refuge.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 September 2016 at 10:12 am

SHELBY – While many speakers said a proposed overlay district to protect the wildlife refuge is a government overreach and attack on local property rights, the Town Board was praised by other community members for seeking to protect the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

Wendi Pencille, leader of the Citizens for Shelby Preservation, said the state Department of Environmental Conservation let the community down by not demanding more environmental scrutiny of a proposed 215-acre quarry project on Fletcher Chapel Road.

The Town Board proposed the overlay district about a week after a DEC administrative law judge said on July 27 the quarry didn’t have any issues that needed adjudication or a deeper review.

“We’re very glad the town has decided to do the work the DEC has not done,” Pencille said during a public hearing on Wednesday attended by about 150 people.

Town Hall was crowded for Wednesday's public hearing about an proposed overlay district to restrict quarries and other land uses near the wildlife refuge.

Town Hall was crowded for Wednesday’s public hearing about a proposed overlay district to restrict quarries and other land uses near the wildlife refuge.

Several landowners objected to the overlay district, which includes 3,821 acres within a 3,000-foot buffer north of the refuge. The town has proposed an overlay district that restricts mining, blasting, junk yards, kennels, airports, motor vehicle repair shops, outdoor commercial recreation areas and telecommunication facilities.

Pencille said the State Environmental Quality Review Act is a “fraud.” The Shelby citizens group formed 10 years ago and Pencille said the members have been following the DEC and the SEQR process with the review of the stone quarry.

“It failed to protect one of the most sensitive environmental habitats in the State of New York, a habitat it was designed to protect,” Pencille said.

She said the Local Law could be amended to address some of the issues raised by residents during Wednesday’s public hearing, while keeping the restrictions against the quarry.

Frontier Stone is proposing for a quarry in a residential-agriculture district. It would need the Town Board to change the zoning to industrial to allow for the project.

Several residents urged the town to fight for the refuge. Lorraine Davis of Bigford Road said the quarry would hurt the air and water quality of the immediate area, and disrupt a peaceful neighborhood.

Brian McCarty supports a town proposal to restrict mining near the wildlife refuge.

Brian McCarty supports a town proposal to restrict mining near the wildlife refuge.

“The buffer zone is an excellent idea,” said Brian McCarty, a Dunlap Road resident. He worries if the quarry goes through, other mining companies will look to establish operations near environmentally sensitive areas.

“They will use this as a model to go on every nature preserve and wildlife refuge,” McCarty said. His father lives in Lockport where he said LaFarge has a quarry on Hinman Road that has disrupted a quiet residential area. He urged community members to talk to residents near that quarry.

Local resident Gail Miller also supported the overlay district, saying it’s not unusual for towns to put restrictions on property. “The DEC has failed its responsibility,” she said.

Al Capurso, a Gaines resident, said the refuge deserves the added protection. He urged the town to try to keep the quarry out.

“Money talks and nature walks,” Capurso said.

Dale Root said environmental concerns about a quarry near the refuge have been addressed and the project should go forward.

Dale Root said environmental concerns about a quarry near the refuge have been addressed and the project should go forward.

Another resident, local farmer Dale Root, said Frontier Stone is not putting the refuge in danger.

“There is no evidence showing there will be wildlife destruction,” Root said. “The experts show there will be no problems with the proposal so why can’t it go forward?”

Bill Keppler urged the board to try to preserve the rural character of the community. The open spaces are an asset, drawing people to the community, he said.

Marguerite Sherman, a Medina village trustee, also voiced her support for the overlay district and restrictions on uses near the refuge.

However, another resident, Dick Keppler, said the refuge “is big enough.” Keppler said the town should not “trample on other peoples’ rights” to target restricting the quarry.

Town Supervisor Skip Draper said residents are welcome to comment on the overlay district until Oct. 1. They can submit their concerns to the Town Hall on Salt Works Road.

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Shelby landowners file protest petition over proposed Wildlife Refuge Overlay District

Photos by Tom Rivers: Jim Zelazny speaks against Shelby’s proposed Wildlife Refuge Protection District Law, saying the law would severely restrict property rights on nearly 4,000 acres north of the wildlife refuge. The proposed law would ban a quarry that has been in development for about a decade on the Zelazny family land.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 September 2016 at 7:50 am

SHELBY – Landowners representing two thirds of the property in a proposed Wildlife Refuge Protection District have filed a protest petition with the Town of Shelby, saying the proposed law would restrict their ability to use their property.

The Shelby Town Board is looking to establish a “Wildlife Refuge Protection Overlay District” that would ban mining and other uses the town doesn’t think are compatible near the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, such as junk yards, kennels, airports, motor vehicle repair shops, outdoor commercial recreation areas and telecommunication facilities.

overlaydistrict

The proposed overlay district would provide a 3,000-foot buffer north of the refuge. (Map created by Orleans County Planning Department.)

Eddie Zelazny of Harrison Road was among several speakers during a hearing on Wednesday to oppose overlay district, which is Local Law No. 2 for 2016. Frontier Stone LLC wants to use 215 acres of Zelazny land in a proposed quarry that would be established in four phases, over 75 years, with 11.6 acres mined in the first 11 years.

Zelazny said the Town Board “is deliberately targeting other private property owners near our land to get my family to abandon this project. That is discriminating.”

Several farmers spoke against the overlay restrictions during the public hearing and also signed the protest petition. Alana Keppler of SK Herefords said the cattle operation relies on telecommunications for maintaining records while they are in the field. She said SK strives to stay up to date with rapidly-changing technology. The ban on telecommunications facilities could be a detriment to SK Herefords in the future, she said.

Todd Roberts, a farmer in Shelby, speaks against the proposed overlay district. He said he shouldn’t be punished as a property owner for having land near the refuge. Roberts said farmers are good stewards of the land.

Todd Roberts, a farmer in Shelby, speaks against the proposed overlay district. He said he shouldn’t be punished as a property owner for having land near the refuge. Roberts said farmers are good stewards of the land.

Another farmer, Todd Roberts, also signed the petition and spoke against the overlay district, seeing it as an attack on property rights.

“I feel like I’m being punished just because I have land near a wildlife refuge,” Roberts told the Town Board.

The overlay district would cover 3,821 acres. Landowners representing 2,500 of the acres in the overlay district, 67 percent of the total, signed the protest petition, which was filed with the town on Wednesday.

That exceeds a 20 percent threshold of acreage in the proposed district, which forces a super-majority vote, requiring at least 4 of the 5 Town Board members to vote for the law for it to pass.

“The Petitioners protest and oppose the Wildlife Refuge Protection District Law because the limitations and constraints that are contained therein would result in significant hardship to them as property owners, including those property owners whose property would be in the proposed Refuge Protection Overlay District,” the petition states.

The restrictions in the proposed law “go well beyond what is needed to protect the health, safety and welfare of property owners and the general community, and simply are not consistent with the wishes voiced by landowners in the Town of Shelby,” according to the petition.

Pete Zeliff said the the overlay district includes many restrictions that would limit property rights and potential projects that would be good for the community.

Pete Zeliff said the the overlay district includes many restrictions that would limit property rights and potential projects that would be good for the community.

Pete Zeliff said the Shelby proposal would thwart any efforts to develop bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, kennels and other potential projects that would benefit the town. He said he is in the early stages of developing a campground for Boy Scouts on his land near the refuge.

He runs the Warrior House, a hunting retreat site for wounded veterans, at his property on Salt Works Road in West Shelby. He doesn’t want that effort to be hurt by the restrictions in the town’s proposed overlay district.

Several residents spoke in favor of the law during Wednesday’s public hearing attended by about 150 people. The Town Board was praised to pushing for the restrictions after the state Department of Environmental Conservation ruled on July 27 that Frontier had satisfied the agency in its review and no “substantive or significant” environmental issues remained to be adjudicated with the project.

The DEC determined in its review that proposed quarry “would have no impact of any significance on the Refuge,” according to the petition filed on Wednesday.

David Mahar, president of Frontier, said Frontier, in a decade of working on the project, has taken steps to protect and enhance the refuge by developing a water management plan that will “get water to the refuge marshes whenever they need it.”

Frontier also has worked with the Genesee County Economic Development Center to ensure the quarry would not have a negative impact on the STAMP site on the southern side of the refuge, he said.

David Mahar, president of Frontier Stone LLC, said Frontier has worked for a decade with consultants and the DEC to ensure a proposed quarry would be a benefit to the refuge and community. Mahar spoke during Wednesday's public hearing at Shelby Town Hall.

David Mahar, president of Frontier Stone LLC, said Frontier has worked for a decade with consultants and the DEC to ensure a proposed quarry would be a benefit to the refuge and community. Mahar spoke during Wednesday’s public hearing at Shelby Town Hall.

Mahar said the company’s project has been rigorously reviewed by the DEC, which examined impacts from blasting, dust and additional traffic on the refuge, the environment, local roads and water resources.

“This operation was designed to benefit the community and the refuge, not harm them,” he said.

Mahar said he has been a faithful attendee of Shelby town meetings for a decade, trying to help town officials understand the quarry project. But he said Shelby town officials have declined to sit down with him to learn the science behind the quarry and how it would help the refuge and community.

The Local Law proposal “not only threatens our ability to be of assistance to the refuge and a positive contributor to this community, it threatens free enterprise –­ mine, the Zelazny’s and all their good neighbors,” Mahar said. “And it hinders economic development.”

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Shelby proposes district to protect wildlife refuge

This map shows the northern portion of the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, along with the proposed Protection Overlay District.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 August 2016 at 2:10 pm

SHELBY – The Shelby Town Board is looking to establish a “Wildlife Refuge Protection Overlay District” that would ban mining and other uses the town doesn’t think are compatible near the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

The Town Board will have a public hearing on the local law at 7 p.m. on Sept. 7 at the Town Hall on Salt Works Road. Shelby is proposing the district as a 3,000-foot buffer from the refuge border. The district would include 227 parcels or 3,821 acres. Of that land, 3,638 are enrolled in the agricultural district.

The Town Board is looking to establish the the local law after the state Department of Environmental Conservation ruled on July 27 that Frontier Stone won’t need to go to adjudication to resolve any “substantive or significant” environmental issues with a proposed 215-acre quarry on Fletcher Chapel Road.

In his ruling, Administrative Law Judge D. Scott Bassinson said DEC officials can now work towards issuing a permit for the project following completion of the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

Shelby Town Supervisor Skip Draper said the town doesn’t want a quarry so close to the wildlife refuge. Many residents have spoken against the project during DEC hearings. Establishing the Wildlife Refuge Protection Overlay District would establish a new level of regulation to protect natural resources.

The district would ban blasting, mining, junk yards, kennels, airports, motor vehicle repair shops, outdoor commercial recreation areas and telecommunication facilities.

The district also proposed banning agricultural product processing and distribution facilities, but the Orleans County Planning Board last Thursday said those uses should likely be allowed because of the NYS Agriculture and Markets Law. Otherwise, the Planning Board backed the local law.

Frontier Stone is proposing the new quarry and would like to provide lime and some services for the farm community. The proposed quarry would be established in four phases, over 75 years, with 11.6 acres mined in the first 11 years.

Frontier Stone, on its website (click here), says the local law if adopted would “significantly restrict” property rights in Shelby, limit how property can be used, and hinder the ability to sell property for an economic benefit in the future.

Quarry by refuge in Shelby clears DEC hurdle

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 August 2016 at 5:32 pm

Judge says no issues need adjudication, Frontier Stone can seek final state permit

SHELBY – A proposed quarry near the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge has cleared a key hurdle from the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Administrative Law Judge D. Scott Bassinson last week ruled “no issues exist for adjudication” in Frontier Stone’s plan for a 215-acre quarry on Fletcher Chapel Road.
The judge’s decision on July 27 means Frontier won’t have to go to court in a DEC proceeding to resolve “substantive or significant” environmental issues with the project.

Bassinson, in his written decision, said concerns raised by petitioners have been sufficiently addressed by Frontier and DEC staff. The judge said DEC officials can now work towards issuing a permit for the project following completion of the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

“I am pleased the judge recognized that our efforts to develop this project have been diligent and thorough,” said Dave Mahar, president of Frontier Stone. “We look forward to working with local authorities moving forward and appreciate the DEC, town and community for their feedback over the years and for working with us to ensure this operation adheres to the highest operational, safety and environmental standards.”

Mahar has been working on the project for the past 12 years. The proposed quarry would be established in four phases, over 75 years, with 11.6 acres mined in the first 11 years.

Town officials and many nearby residents have opposed the project, fearing a negative impact on the wildlife refuge, the local water table, property values and town roads, as well as other concerns.

But Bassinson ruled the two groups that petitioned for party status, the Shelby Town Board and Citizens for Shelby Preservation, “did not provide any evidence, proposed testimony, or other offer of proof” to support claims that the studies, data and expert analyses developed Frontier Stone’s mining operation were flawed.

Frontier is proposing to mine below the water table with a maximum water withdrawal for quarry dewatering at 554,264 gallons a day. It would be discharged at the southwest corner of the site into an agricultural drainage ditch.

The reclamation objective will be to create two lakes at 35 and 156 acres for recreation or wildlife habitat.

There were concerns about the proposed quarry on the STAMP (Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park) site in nearby Alabama. That 1,250-acre site will accommodate nanotechnology companies including semiconductor 450mm chip fab, flat panel display, solar manufacturing, and advanced manufacturing.

Frontier will install a permanent seismograph monitoring station at the STAMP site and will ensure the quarry’s blast design meets the “quiet site” semiconductor and nanotechnology standards requested by the Genesee County Economic Development Center, which is pushing the STAMP site for high-tech companies.

Frontier Stone also will use Fletcher Chapel Road as the “primary access to the mine site” to “mitigate noise, air quality and safety concerns and maintain aesthetic, recreational and education aspects” of the wildlife refuge.

Frontier, in a news release today, said it will also implement road improvements and full-depth road reclamation on local town roads leading to the quarry site to accommodate increased traffic and enhance the project area’s intersection.

Frontier said it has worked with DEC staff on in-depth evaluations of impacts to local roads, additional truck traffic, blasting levels, dust mitigation, water quality and the migratory patterns and habitat requirements of local species.

Bassinson’s ruling referred to additional revised permit conditions, recommended by DEC staff for increased setbacks.

Frontier said its planned 25-foot setback complied with governing regulations, but DEC and Frontier agreed that, “during the months of May, June and July, there would be no mining activity within Phase 2 mining areas within 350 feet of the southern excavation area limit, which borders the Wildlife Refuge.”

This provision will reduce noise levels to ambient at the property line of the refuge, eliminating noise impacts in the refuge during bird breeding season, Frontier said in a news release today.

Click here for more information from Frontier on the project.

Old-fashioned day provides lots of fun in East Shelby

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 July 2016 at 11:00 am

EAST SHELBY – Horses pull a wagon of people for a ride today during Old Tyme Day at the East Shelby Community Bible Church. About 2,000 people attend the annual event, where pie, hot dogs, lemonade and other activities are offered for a penny.

Kids and some adults fire gum balls with a sling shot at a giant cutout of Goliath.

Sophia Johnston of Batavia takes a break with a mule named Lucy, which gave rides to kids during Olde Tyme Day.

These four kids watch a group do square dancing in the center of the recreated West Jackson Corners hamlet.

Jonathan Wasnoch, 17, of Medina works in the blacksmith shop.

Bob Murphy of Oakfield checks on the team of horses before they took another group on a ride. Murphy attends the East Shelby Community Bible Church and works with the horses on Olde Tyme Day.

David Green and other East Shelby firefighters were busy with traffic control during the day.

Church volunteers built this mini replica of the church for the West Jackson Corners hamlet. It was among the new additions to the day’s festival.

Today’s Olde Tyme Day had a Wild West theme and included a holdup of this stagecoach.

Elaine Renouf, left, and Alice Root were among the church volunteers who baked and served 300 pies – 2,400 slices altogether that sold for a penny apiece.

Assemblywoman Corwin announces she won’t seek re-election

Staff Reports Posted 12 July 2016 at 12:00 am
Jane Corwin

Jane Corwin

Jane Corwin, who represents an Assembly district that includes the Town of Shelby in Orleans County, announced today she won’t be seeking re-election to a fifth two-year term.

Corwin of Clarence is among the Republican leaders in the State Assembly. She ran for Congress in 2011, losing a close election to Kathy Hochul, who is now the state’s lieutenant governor.

Corwin’s district was mostly in Erie and Niagara counties, but did include the one Orleans town. She appeared at some functions in Orleans, mostly Republican political events.

“I pride myself in leading by example,” Corwin said in a statement this evening, “and I firmly believe that instituting term limits on state officials will go a long way in ending the corruption and dysfunction in Albany.”

George Maziard, Nic Culver and Jane Corwin

File photo – Assemblywoman Jane Corwin joined former State Sen. George Maziarz and Nic Culver, then 14, during the dedication of a historical marker in September 2014. The marker highlights a famous murder case in West Shelby, when an illiterate German immigrant nearly was executed for a murder he didn’t commit. Corwin helped pay for the marker.

Corwin said she was going to “term myself out” from the State Legislature and give someone else have “the opportunity to represent our community and bring Western New York values to the ‘people’s house.'”

Recently she has pushed for a stronger state response to the opioid overdose crisis and also the “zombie house” problem, where banks own houses but let them sit vacant for many years.

The Republican Party will have to move quickly to find a candidate for the position. The Buffalo News is reporting Corwin’s announcement is just two days before the Thursday deadline for submitting nominating petitions for the Sept. 13 state primary elections.

Fire damages house in Shelby on Maple Ridge Road

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 June 2016 at 4:22 pm

SHELBY – A fire this afternoon in a garage damaged a house owned by Kasmier “Mike” Szulis. This photo shows Shelby firefighters Jason Watts, top left, and Andy Watts.

The 1979 house, built by Mr. Szulis, may have suffered smoke damage inside, in addition to the more extensive damage in the garage, family members said.

Medina firefighter Steve Cooley uses a chain saw to cut through the garage door. Jonathan Higgins of the Medina Fire Department also assisted at the scene.


Mr. Szulis was out watering berries when he noticed smoke in the garage of the house at 12335 Maple Ridge Rd. Family members say they are grateful no one was injured in the fire and that the fire was mostly contained to the garage.

The fire is under investigation.

4 came through in big way at Father-Daughter Dance for Medina girl

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 June 2016 at 12:00 am

Provided photo – Ten-year-old Marah had four dates for the Father-Daughter Dance on June 4 in Shelby, including from left: Phil Seitzer, her uncle Scott Coleman, grandfather Steve Burgess, and great-grandfather Glenn Burgess.

MEDINA – When the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company held its first-ever Father-Daughter Dance on June 4, a 10-year-old girl from Medina had the most dates – four.

Amy Ritzenthaler of Medina is grateful for the four men who took her daughter, Marah, to the event. Marah’s father was unavailable. She was sad for days leading up to the event when her friends talked about the special dance and the fancy dresses they would be wearing.

Ritzenthaler mentioned the situation to Marah’s great-grandfather and other family members. Several of the men in the family eagerly offered to take her.

Marah walked through the doors of the Shelby Rec Hall with her great-grandfather Glenn Burgess, grandfather Steve Burgess, uncle Scott Coleman and Phil Seitzer, Ritzenthaler’s best friend’s boyfriend.

“I can’t thank those guys enough for coming together,” Ritzenthaler said. “She will remember it for the rest of her life.”

Glenn Burgess, the great-grandfather, was the first to agree to go to the dance. Burgess, 83, was happy to slow-dance with Marah.

“He is one of Marah’s favorite people in the world and he knows that,” Ritzenthaler said. “They enjoy each other.”

The four men either took off from work or switched their plans to go to the dance. They surprised Marah on June 4, who was dressed up for the day thinking she was going to an up-do contest at a cook-out. But then the four men showed up to take her to the dance.

“They all had a great time,” Ritzenthaler said. “It turned out to be a great day.”

Father-Daughter Dance is a sell-out at Shelby

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 June 2016 at 10:00 am

150 attend debut event on Saturday

SHELBY – Raymond James of Medina dances with his daughter Tanaya, 2, during the Father-Daughter Dance on Saturday at the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company.

The Ladies Auxiliary put on the event for the first time on Friday. The event was sold out with 150 people attending.

“It’s nice for the dads to be able to do something nice with their daughters,” said Julianne McGrath, one of the event organizers. “It’s by far exceeded our expectations.”

The rec hall was transformed into a dance floor for fathers and their daughters on Saturday.

Tim Elliott of Medina dances with his daughter Madelyn, 7. Tim said he was thankful for a chance to take his daughter out on a date.

Gary Watts poses for a silly photo with his granddaughters, Charlotte and Makenzie McGrath.

Tim Zeiner of Medina poses for a picture with his kids, from left: Taylor, Madison and Morgan (in back). “I want to take them out and show them a good time,” Zeiner said.

Fathers and daughters have fun on the dance floor. Event organizers said they wanted to put on a family-oriented outing near Father’s Day.

County honors firefighters, departments with most training hours

Staff Reports Posted 19 May 2016 at 12:00 am

Provided photo

ALBION – The Shelby Volunteer Fire Company was honored on Monday for attaining the most training hours for both fire and EMS training.

The top photo shows, from left: Dale Banker, emergency management coordinator for Orleans County; Jerry Lewis, state fire instructor; and Shelby Fire Chief Andy Benz.

Shelby Volunteer Fire Company was recognized during the Fire Chief’s Association Meeting. Shelby firefighters completed 1,782.5 hours for fire service and 1,110 hours for Emergency Medical Services training between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016. Shelby led all departments in the county in both categories.

Provided photo

File photo by Tom Rivers

Provided photo

Dale Banker and Jerry Lewis recognize John Miller III and Lori Miller, both of Shelby, for each each completing more than 200 hours of training. Their names are now on a plaque that hangs in the classroom at the Emergency Management Office on West Countyhouse Road. John Miller III also received the award for highest individual EMS training time with 240 hours.

Ben Diltz of the Carlton Fire Department puts on the turnout gear, a multi-step task that needed to be done properly in less than 2 minutes as part of a basic firefighting course. He is pictured on May 16, 2015. Diltz had the most fire training hours for an individual with 189 hours.

County Legislators John DeFillipps, second from left, and Bill Eick, right, hold the Fire and EMS Plaques that will hang in the Legislative Chambers at the County Clerks’ Building.  These plaques recognize the top agency for fire and EMS training each year.

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